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Filed under: 60 Votes needed, Gorsuch, Mitch McConnell, Senate, Supreme Court Nominee, Tea Party
Congress and the Presidency are independently elected while the judiciary is not. The members of the Judiciary are appointed and confirmed by the two other branches of government but not independently elected.
While the judiciary is a check on the constitutionality of the other branches activities it is also appointed and confirmed by those branches.
In situations where one party has the Presidency and a majority in the Senate it is necessary to insure bipartisan support for confirmation in the Senate to protect against one party co-opting dominance in two or three branches of government.
In the case of non-Judicial appointments by the President those appointments usually last as long as he holds office. In the case of judicial appointments they are for life and the appointees serve through many administrations. Thus insuring stability in a democracy for all citizens and residents of the United States.
At least 60 Senate votes for confirmation tends to insure but not guarantee ( it is conceivable one Party may control 60 or more votes at some time) bipartisan support for a nominee and that the appointee will not serve as a political ally of those who nominated and confirmed him or her through the 30 or so years he/she is likely to serve on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is considered to be apolitical and neutral in its interpretations.
At preset we have Justice Clarence Thomas who holds what was once thought of the Thurgood Marshall seat, if any seat can be considered in the philosophy of the prior holder. He was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 46. Also Justice Samuel Alito was confirmed by a 58 to 42 vote. Since the Eisenhower presidency no other nominees has been approved with less than 60 votes unless it was by voice vote which is considered to be by an overwhelming majority of the Senate.
Justices confirmed with less than 60 votes tend to polarize the Supreme Court and make it more difficult that a consensus opinion will be reached. Thus in recent years 5-4 decisions are often the nom and since Justice Scalia’s death 4-4 decisions are frequently seen. Thus polarization of the court is more likely to be seen when Justices are confirmed with less than 60 votes and often the vote is split along political or ideological grounds by Justices who are unwilling to compromise.
Thus in the present instance Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed with at least 60 bi partisan votes to end the present standoff which has resulted in one Justice, Kennedy, often casting the deciding vote for one side of the other.
The Supreme Court needs more centrists that can bridge the present divide and who can fashion a ruling that is fair to all people and not just the party in power or the one that appointed them.
In the case of nominee Merrick Garland he was nominated by President Obama after Justice Scalia died February 13, 2016, he was nominated June 24, 1986 and confirmed September 17, 1986 in less than three months.
Garland was nominated March 16, 2016 but never received a vote because of the Senate republicans led by leader Mitch McConnell refusal to recognize a nominee by a Democratic President in an election year.
This was unprecedented for McConnell and the Senate Republicans to flout their constitutional duties and not give a nominee duly appointed by a President under his constitutional duties a vote on the Senate floor. Garland may have garnered 60 or more votes. Then there would have no need to nominate the present nominee and Garland would have been an appointee of both sides rather than a one party confirmation that Gorsuch seems to be headed for.
Thus we are headed for a Justice approved by a partisan vote who may serve for at least 29 years just as Justice Scalia did. He may gain approval if McConnell suspends the filibuster rule and lets a majority vote decide. The filibuster rule has been long seen as a safeguard to our democracy and against one party rule. The question arises will McConnell bow to tea party pressure groups to allow confirmation of Gorsuch by a simple majority.
This is not what the founders envisioned for an independent judiciary as a check on the other branches of government. Thus Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed by at least sixty votes.
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Jessica Chastain is the lead and driving character in this intense, suspenseful drama about lobbyists and the fight for restraints on gun access and ownership legislation in Washington.
This is a tight fast paced film shot in noir color about a beautiful, no holds barred lobbyist played by, Chastain. We wonder what drives her, greed, power, challenge or something else?
She makes a career changing decision when she refuses an assignment by her corrupt firm head, George DuPont (Sam Waterson) to raise female support in support of the gun lobby because they need and everyone else needs unfettered access to guns for self-protection and protection of others against the deranged and criminal elements in society.
Chastain sees this as the same mantra that has put guns in the hands of the mentally disturbed and criminals in the first place. As a result she is canned by her firm. Could this mean she is a lobbyist with values transcending money or power?
This change is probably a good thing, personally, for her as she is a person driven to win at any cost and she has resorted to benzodiazepines to maintain her equilibrium. She also has no social or romantic life and has hired an escort named Forde (Jake Lacy) for sexual satisfaction.
At loose ends after being fired she accepts an offer by Rodolfo Vittorio Schmidt (Mark Strong) head of the firm hired to shepherd legislation for modest gun control through Congress. The offer comes with no renumeration. Does this mean she is values driven?
When she left her prior firm she took most of her support staff with her to the Schmidt firm except her closest assistant Jane Molloy (Alisson Pill) who decided to stay with the old firm for ostensibly career reasons.
|The battle is on and the Schmidt firm is ethical and cautious but Chastain runs her assignment in the same ruthless way she operated at
her old firm. She sets up her new assistant Esme Manucharian (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a gun attack survivor, as an unsuspecting example
during a televised debate with the point man for the opposition Pat Connors (Mark Stuhlbarg).
This outing crushes Esme emotionally and leads to further consequences.
The opposition seeing she is acquiring the necessary votes to enact the fought over legislation decides to destroy her personally by forcing
a Senate investigation into her past unethical practices and her hiring of escorts. The Senate hearing is led by Senator Ron Sperling (John
Lithgow) who once was a supporter of the legislation but has been forced by the gun lobby to take a position against the legislation and
conduct a Senate hearing into unethical practices by Chastain in order to destroy her credibility.
However the 40ish Sloane’s philosophy is “It’s about making sure you surprise them and they don’t surprise you.”
There is never a dull moment in the film about a beautiful, intelligent, ruthless woman making her way in the world at great expense to her personal life and health. In the end we see what drives her and it is not conventional power, money or values.
The dialogue is crisp and smart and the acting, especially Chastain’s, is superior as well as the directing and cinematography.
With all that said and while this film is a good and compelling story the chances of one person, no matter how talented, of defeating
the gun lobby is remote.
Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi, powerful people, endeavored mightily to pass restricting legislation and failed.
Not even the tragedies at Sandy Hook and elsewhere seemed to make a difference.
However This film and others will make a difference in the long run as they make the public aware of the intransigence and the absurdity
of the gun lobbies positions. Just one more nail in the coffin.
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Filed under: AMERICAN PASTORAL. FILM, B. DIRECTOR EWAN McGREGOR. “Hostages to Fortune.” Francis Bacon.
This is a film based on a Phillip Roth novel. It stars Ewan McGregor as Seymour “Swede” Levov , Jennifer Connelly as Dawn his wife and Hannah Norberg as their daughter Merry. The film takes place in the “60’s and 70’s.
Swede is Jewish but his light hair and pale skin earned him the nickname “Swede” in high school where he was a star athlete and student. Swede’s future looked bright, he took over his father’s prosperous, high end, glove business and married Dawn, a Catholic girl of Irish descent and former Miss New Jersey. Together they established themselves in an upscale community near Newark where Dawn has a hobby dairy farm and he commutes to his glove factory
They have a daughter Merry who at sixteen is deeply affected by the Viet Nam War and the social turmoil of the time. She begins to assert her independence by going to New York to see “friends”. At first on day trips and then overnight.
Swede and Dawn are upset by her radical politics and the antiwar, anti- government posters and literature she has in her room. Swede tries to talk to her but her responses are anarchic and full of venom for the middle class life they lead and the policies of the government. Between Dawn and Merry there always has been a deep chasm as Merry, since a child has resented Swedes loving relationship with his wife. He loves Merry as well but she is jealous of Dawn.
Their discussion of politics is acidic, he of the middle class center and she of the anarchical, radical left.
Finally Swede says why you don’t demonstrate in Rimrock (their suburb) instead of New York, believing she will be less susceptible to radical influences than in New York.
Soon after there is a bomb blast in a small local post office killing the man who operates it.
Merry has disappeared and Swede and Dawn are beside themselves with worry.
The police conclude Merry was the perpetrator but she has disappeared into an underground organization like the Weathermen.
Swede searches for her but she remains missing.
Slowly his life and marriage, which was so promising in the beginning, disintegrate. His health declines ending in death.
The film is full irony and the lesson that children are our “hostages to fate”.
Swede was never able to give up on his daughter but Dawn soured and turned away to pursue plastic surgery, become a dilettante in the arts and to run with and artsy crowd in Rimrock.
The film shows McGregor’s inexperience at directing but never the less it is well laid out. The cinematography is less than stunning or compelling and the picture could have been shot and cut to make the story more dramatic.
However McGregor shows promise in his selection of material and his sensitivity in presenting it. It has a lot more to offer than what Marvel or DC Comics is selling.
If Arthur Miller can stage “Death of a Salesmen” in Beijing then there is hope for Phillip Roth.Leave a Comment
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Filed under: Director Oliver Stone. B+. Film Review., SNOWDEN, Snowden Film
There is a Snowden documentary Citizen Four by Laura Poitras and Snowden the drama (trailer) by Oliver Stone. Stone is a highly skilled director and screenwriter who has won Oscars for his films. He wrote the screenplay with Kieran Fitzgerald while the documentary stars Edward Snowden in person the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden with Shailene Woodley as Lindsey Mills, his life partner (apparently they never formally married although they have been together for a long time).
The main difference between the documentary and the film is that Stone humanizes Snowden and shows the events that led up to his decision to go public with classified documents that he believes reveal that the government is illegally spying on its own citizens.
As opposed to dumping the data unedited on the internet Snowden chooses to go public through a responsible liberal news organization located in Great Britain named The Guardian that will edit names and other unnecessary but dangerous facts. When writer Glen Greenwald( Zachary Quinto), Laura Poitas documentary film maker (Melissa Leo) and Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson) an editor of the Guardian meet with Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel named Mira the movie unfolds from their discussions with flash backs in his life that lead up to his disclosure of classified programs designed to spy not just on hostile foreigners but everyone in the world that communicates by cell phone or computer.
The first flash back is of Snowden as a volunteer in training for the Special Forces which he is forced to leave because of a broken leg and other sub fractures. This apparently was to show his patriotism and loyalty to the United State and the principles for which it stands. The picture moves back and forth between the discussions in the hotel and Snowden’s life events. He meets Lindsey Mills on line while he is in the hospital recovering and learns he will be discharged from the Army for medical reasons. She is a young liberal and an amateur photographer. Her life style, which is open and unconcerned about her on line profile as most young people her age are, is juxtaposed by Snowden’s increasing knowledge and concern that the most private details of all American lives is being collected and stored. He is aware of the FISA court’s secret and classified alleged oversight of the NSA and the CIA’s activities in data collection is a thin excuse for constitutionality. He is also aware that the spy agencies get their warrant requests rubber stamped and even this procedure is often by passed.
He applies after discharge to the CIA and despite the fact he doesn’t have a high school diploma he is accepted into computer training by Corbin O’Brien a CIA officer (Rys Ifans) who is impressed with his intelligence and computer skills. O”Brien seeing his potential becomes his mentor and career guide.
Snowden is stationed in Switzerland but is “D-ROGED” by his supervisor for exceeding his authority. This is normally is a career ender but O’Brien has him moved to the field branch where he becomes disillusioned with an operation to compromise an otherwise innocent Pakistani Banker. He resigns his post and returns to the United States with Lindsey. They are happier back in Maryland but Snowden conscious of his superior computer skills feels compelled to use them in what he believes as defending the United States. He comes from a family with a distinguished record of service in the U.S. military. His grandfather, an admiral, was assigned to the Pentagon on 9/11 but unhurt.
Slowly he concludes that the Bush Government is acting unconstitutionally against its own people but with his association with Lindsey and when Obama is elected president he hopes things will be corrected.
However he learns that we are depositing sleeper programs in most of the World’s computer systems which would enable the shut down of their vital infrastructures on command. Also, he sees drone strikes on people talking on cell phones believed to be in the hands of terrorists. He is offended by the casualness of the drone commands activities which take innocent lives along with terrorist lives. He has been assigned to an intelligence contractor in Hawaii and is living a comfortable suburban life with Lindsey but he is aware the government’s activities remained unchanged.
He aware that past complainers or whistleblowers have been demoted or have been isolated in non-essential posts and at least on one occasion a frustrated whistleblower has gone to the press and was then prosecuted under the Espionage Act which only provides for a secret closed trial in which a verdict of guilty is preordained. He suffers from epilepsy and the pressures of his job cause him to stop taking his anti-seizure medicine so he can more effective. It also makes him more susceptible to seizures.
The final straw comes when he sees the Director Of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in testimony before Congress testify under oath that the intelligence agencies are not wittingly collecting data on U.S. citizens within the country which Snowden knows to be incorrect.
He then gets permission to index all spy programs into a program he designs called Heartbeat. He downloads this information on a chip and goes to a pre-planned meeting with the journalists. He hopes to gain asylum in Ecuador but his passport was revoked while en-route in Moscow where he remains today.
This picture is designed to show Snowden as an intelligent, conscientious, normal human rather than a cold, stoic egghead without a life and nothing to lose by his actions is cinematically excellent, the acting is superb and the story is well told. It got lukewarm reviews from the “mainline” critics who pander to the horror, comic book audience which constitutes their readership. However it is an intelligent film well done and deserves better from these critics who should be leading instead of following.
At present Snowden supporters are seeking a pardon or a public trial on lesser charges. However the sentiments of the bureaucracy is summed up at the end by Gen. Michael Hayden former head of the NSA saying “He’ll die in Moscow.”1 Comment or Leave a Comment
DOES GRANDMA MOSES’ COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE LIVING AND WORKING IN PEACE AND HARMONY EXIST ANY MORE AFTER SAN BERNARDINO, SANDY HOOK ,COLORADO AND SOUTH CAROLINA CHURCH SHOOTING.
YES IT DID BEFORE AUTOMATIC WEAPONS WITH EXPANDED CLIPS. THERE ALWAYS WERE AND ALWAYS WILL BE DISAFECTED PEOPLE AND THE MENTALLY DERANGED BUT NOW THEY HAVE ACCESS TO MILITARY TYPE WEAPONS WITH RAPID FIRE CAPABILITES. WEAPONS NOT IMAGINED BY THE FRAMERS OF THE CONSTITUTION WHO AUTHORED THE 2ND AMENDMENT WITH SINGLE SHOT RIFLES IN MIND FOR HUNTING, HOME PROTECTION AND USE WITH MILITIAS TO PROTECT THEIR COMMUNITIES AND NOT FOR MASS SHOOTINGS OF INNOCENTS TO GAIN NOTORIETY AND PERHAPS MAKE A STATEMENT TO BE DISEMINATED BY MEDIA COVERAGE. Sorry for the shouting.Leave a Comment
Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It
Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on. READ THE FULL NY TIMES STORY.
HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 19: SYRIA: A WICKED PROBLEM. HOW IS ISIS SUPPORTING ITSELF LOGISTICALY?
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Filed under: : BOOK ANALYSIS, CHAPTER 19: SYRIA: A WICKED PROBLEM, HARD CHOICES, HILLARY CLINTON, HOW IS ISIS SUPPORTING ITSELF LOGISTICALY?, Uncategorized
Syria is a diverse country. The population is 9% Kurdish, 10% Christian, 12% Alawites, 3% Druze, and 70% Sunni. Although the Sunni’s are in the majority, the country is ruled by the Alawite faction thus Syria is not a democracy.
In 2011 as a result of the Arab Spring revolutions across North Africa a series of peaceful protests began in Syria advocating for political and human rights reforms. These peaceful demonstrations were brutally put down by the authoritarian regime led by President Bashar al Assad who assumed the presidency in an unopposed election in 2000 after his father Hafez al-Assad died. Hafez was ruler after seizing power in a bloodless military coup in 1970.
So the al-Assad family has been in power continuously since 1970 despite the fact the country is called The Syrian Arab Republic.
As a result of the brutal repression of the demonstrations, Sunni factions of the army formed the Free Syrian Army organized to protect the people from being killed or interred. Thus the conflict in Syria morphed into a civil war with disparate factions fighting the government independently or sometimes in conjunction.
Seeing the breakdown of law and order other militants entered the fray with their own agenda including ISIS a group claiming to operate under the banner of Islam but in reality is a lawless group of anarchists bent on establishing a caliphate under their atavistic and self-serving interpretation of the Koran and Sharia law. The result; hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, including women and children, have been killed and millions more have become refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other countries.
The Arab League called for a cease fire which the regime, aligned with Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, failed to observe.
The war has now become a sectarian one with Sunni’s on one side backed by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states and the Alawites a Shiite sect backed by Shiite Iran.
Russia, which has a naval base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast is also a backer of the regime.
Thus the United Nations has been unable to act in any positive way because of Russian opposition.
The UN and the Arab League did appoint former Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, as their Joint Special Envoy on Syria. His task was to bring the regime, the rebels and their backers to the table and agree to a plan to end hostilities. However the regime had no plans to acquiesce to anything that would threaten the Shiite Alawite dominance in Syria over the majority Sunnis.
The U.S was wary of supplying the rebel faction’s arms or even participating in a no fly plan that would be ineffective and may put arms in the wrong hands.
Kofi Annan proposed a six point plan to resolve the conflict similar to a previous Arab League proposal earlier.
1. The regime would pull back their forces and heavy weapons,
2. allow peaceful demonstrations,
3. facilitate humanitarian aid,
4. access by journalists and
5. begin a peaceful transition process to a democratically elected government.
6. The idea was to ratify his plan as a statement rather than a resolution at the UN.
This last part, to call it a UN statement rather than a resolution was to allay Russian fears that the proposal could be used a basis for future military action if the plan was not observed.
Assad agreed and there was a lull in the fighting but then it resumed and none of the other parts of the plan were put into operation.
Kofi Annan resigned as Special envoy because of the failure to implement the plan. Despite continued diplomatic efforts the fighting continues.
ISIS, fortified with oil revenues from captured oil fields and facilities, has become a power player in the region including Iraq where it has seized Mosul and other cities where it has captured more financial assets and military hardware. The Iraqi Army has been routed and military equipment left behind by the US has fallen into the hands of ISIS.
Before Isis invaded Iraq the regime was accused of using chemical weapons and there was evidence that this was true. Under threat from President Obama to use force in the area the regime agreed to give up their chemical weapons. Russia acquiesced to this as a way to prevent military action by the U.S. and others. This agreement was negotiated by John Kerry who succeeded Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
NATO has been notably silent on Syria although France, Britain and Germany have been vocal in condemning the regime.
Turkey has a long border with Syria. It is also a NATO member. Millions of refugees have taken refuge there. Also it is a conduit point for foreign fighters to join ISIS. Yet NATO has been reluctant to become involved. Hillary doesn’t say why if the UN was blocked by Russia she didn’t work through NATO. Perhaps because Russia is close to the NATO countries and could exert pressure on them by cutting off energy supplies and in other ways. Also it appears Turkey wishing to avoid a bloodbath didn’t ask for NATO’S help.
Also she doesn’t say who is supporting ISIS. What supply ports they use for their new Toyota trucks, how they export their oil and what financial facilities they use. Thousands of foreign fighters have to be paid, armed, housed, fed along with the thousands of other details needed to support an Army. Hillary doesn’t say. I doubt it all comes from the areas they conquered. The Guardian had this to say which partly answers the question. Meanwhile the carnage continues.Leave a Comment
HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 18: IRAN: SANCTIONS AND SECRETS. Iran and the bomb. Would you buy a used car from these people?
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Filed under: CHAPTER 18: IRAN: SANCTIONS AND SECRETS, Hillary Clinton, Iran and the bomb. Would you buy a used car from these people?
Hillary states that it was President Obama’s plan to open a dialogue with Iran a country we had no diplomatic contact or communications with since 1979 when the Shah was thrown out by a popular revolution that was subverted by Shiite militants. The Ayatollah Khomeini became leader, an Islamic government installed and the Revolutionary Guards seized the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Since then Iran had involved itself in terrorist activities included bombings by proxies in Beirut, Lebanon, of the U.S. Embassy killing 63 people; the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks that killed 241 Americans; the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia which killed 19 U.S. Airmen and the bombing of the Israeli Cultural Center in Buenos Aeries in 1994 killing 85 people. Iran supported Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel and were involved in supplying weapons that killed the troops of the Coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Further there was evidence they were developing the capability to create and deliver a nuclear bomb. This would set off a nuclear arms race in the Mid-East that could be disastrous for the whole World.
Steps had to be taken to curb Iran. President Obama attempted a diplomatic approach before using force. To that end he wrote personal letters to the present religious leader Ayatollah and Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini who had succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini who had died. The letters went unanswered.
Demonstrations and protests took place over the flawed reelection of President Ahamdinejad, a confrontational and abusive leader. However the protests were violently put down.
Later secret, underground, nuclear facilities were discovered near the City of Qom. This called for greater sanctions than those already in place by the United Nations.
A coalition of States including Russia and China was formed to assert severe sanctions with United Nations approval. Hillary was involved in putting this group together and getting United Nations approval. The economic sanctions were a severe blow to the Iranian economy which was dependent on Oil exports. Also there was no refinery in Iran. This led to severe inflation and economic problems, however, initially, Iran remained defiant.
The Sultan of Oman offered to be a go between in talks between the U.S. and Iran. The Iranians sent a team with demands and preconditions for talks with State Department officers. None of which were acceptable. However the sanctions were crippling Iran financially and their oil exports dribbled to almost nothing. Iranian tankers sat idle in their ports and Iran was effectively excluded from the international oil market.
By 2012 during Ahamdinejad’s second term the economy was in shambles and a new election was held with Saeed Jalili seen as the Ayatollah’s preferred successor.
However eight candidates were picked for the 2013 race and moderates like Rafsanjani were excluded. In televised debates Jalili’s opponents savaged him with criticism on the state of the economy caused by the Ahmadinejad regime during which he had been the chief nuclear negotiator. He was criticized for stonewalling the U.N. talks that led up to the severe sanctions.
Hassan Rouhani a nuclear negotiator also and the most moderate of the field of candidates won a landslide in June 2013. He made conciliatory steps to the international community. However by this time Hillary was no longer Secretary Of State.
The Omani talks began to heat up and the outlines of the current resolutions began to take shape including halting enrichment and provisions for inspections. The talks were enlarged and merged with other States including Russia and China.
In the end the plans of President Obama for a diplomatic deal on nuclear arms was coming to fruition which was initially led by Hillary and now John Kerry with the support of the U.N. and other major nations.
What the future holds is anybody’s guess. There is great friction between the Shiites headed by Iran and the Sunni’s headed by Saudi Arabia. Pakistan, a nuclear armed country, is a Sunni Muslim country as is the fourth most populated country in the World, Indonesia. Israel is said to have nuclear weapons.
Further the Iranians in the past have only responded when confronted by over whelming power. Their leaders have continually been dissembling about their intentions while conducting terrorist activities and secretly enriching uranium the precursor for a nuclear bomb.
Can they be trusted on the nuclear agreements or will they look for loopholes to evade the intent and purpose of the nuclear accord now being negotiated? Based on their past record they only respond when confronted with the actual implementation of sanctions severe enough to cripple their economy.
If the coalition imposing the sanctions fractures or weakens they will be building a bomb if the leaders in power are inclined to do so.
HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 17: BENGHAZI: UNDER ATACK (Where were the Libyan Security Forces?)
Hillary explains the facts behind the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Information Management Officer Sean Smith, CIA Officers Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods on September 11, 2012 at the diplomatic compound and the CIA’s nearby compound in Benghazi, Libya.
At this time there was demonstrations and attacks throughout the Muslim world as a result of a video, “Innocence of Muslims” aired on Egyptian satellite television defaming the prophet Mohammad and Islam in general. The video was made by an independent producer resident in the United States but the United States government had nothing to do with it much as the government had little control over the Florida Minister Terry Jones who threatened to burn the Koran amongst other things.
However both these incidents caused anger in the Muslim world, the video causing the worst reaction.
Benghazi is not the seat of the American Embassy which is in Tripoli but a satellite diplomatic compound guarded by diplomatic security. U.S. Marines were not stationed there because Hillary says their function was to protect or destroy Embassy documents in the event of an attack.
The video itself was aired on September 8 three days before the Benghazi attack also 9/11 was another incendiary day in the Muslim world for trouble makers and those who wished to cause unrest. Hillary says The State Department received no actionable intelligence that any diplomatic facility was in danger of an attack. However two thousand people demonstrated with black flags in Cairo outside the U.S. Embassy tearing down the U.S. Flag. They were dispersed by the Egyptian riot police and there were no casualties.
Ambassador Stevens went to Benghazi despite unrest and its history of being a hot bed of dissidents under Kaddafi which continued after his downfall in 2011 because it is a key city and a strategic one in Libya. He went there to strengthen our relations with the city. He took with him two diplomatic security officers and Sean Smith. At the time of the attack there were five Diplomatic Security agents and Stevens and Smith for a total of seven Americans at the site plus Libyan workers.
There was a larger CIA compound less than a mile away whose mission was classified but it was understood they would come to the aide of the diplomatic compound in a crisis.
About 9:40 pm an armed group of men appeared in front of the compound. They overwhelmed the guards and entered the compound. They set fires in the compound. Smith and Stevens were moved to a safe room in the main building by their security agent, Scott Stickland. Tripoli was notified of the attack.
The CIA compound prepared two vehicles to assist after the attack was underway for twenty minutes.
The building with the safe room was sprayed with diesel fuel and set fire. The heavy smoke made it difficult to breathe and the Diplomatic Security agent decided to go to the roof. In the heavy smoke Strickland made it to the roof believing Stevens and Smith were behind him. However when he reached the roof Stevens and Smith had not followed and could not be found. Scott Strickland reentered the building several times looking for Stevens and Smith but was unable to locate then and finally returned to the roof.
In the meantime the original attackers had withdrawn. This allowed three other Diplomatic Security agents to reach the main building and resuscitate Strickland.
The vehicles with the Armed CIA agents arrived and secured the compound. They searched for Stevens and Smith. They found Smith dead from smoke inhalation but no sign of Stevens. Attackers and others were still milling around in the area and after an extensive search for Stevens it was decided to evacuate the compound to the CIA compound which was better protected. They took Smith’s body with them but Stevens was still missing. The convoy back to the CIA compound itself came under attack but made it through.
The CIA compound was also under attack with men with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades but the shooting eventfully subsided and the attackers withdrew.
A call came in on Stevens cell phone that his body had been found after the attackers had left and onlookers and looters were combing the wreckage had come upon Stevens body about 1:00 a.m. He was taken to the hospital and attempts to revive him failed and at around 2:00 a.m. he was declared dead.
Reinforcements arrived from Tripoli to relieve the CIA compound which now had come under mortar attack killing Doherty and Woods.
By noon all personnel had been evacuated to Tripoli along with the bodies of the fallen.
Numerous questions arose as to why the Libyan government failed to protect the diplomatic compound as they were required to do under a diplomatic treaty previously signed by multiple nations in Vienna.
An investigation was launched led by Admiral Mullen and Tom Pickering, a retired senior foreign service officer, who made recommendations for greater security measures at all embassies.
It was found among other things that the Libyan security force had failed to protect the compound and fled leaving the compound vulnerable.
President Obama addressed the press in the Rose Garden saying “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter the character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” Thus he labeled the attack as a terrorist one.
Exactly who the terrorists were was not discussed in this chapter. Likewise if they were demonstrators spontaneously deciding to act in the face of the general unrest caused by the video or if they were organized group with a specific goal of attacking the compound and killing those inside. How many groups were there? It was not discussed.
No personnel were killed in the diplomatic compound by gunfire, although there was plenty, but later the CIA agents were killed by mortar attack at the CIA compound. The thesis that a group of unorganized demonstrators came first and then were supplemented by an unconnected organized group has been advanced. This theory was stated by Susan Rice the Ambassador to the United Nations based on talking points supplied by the CIA in an appearance on a television political talk show.
She was criticized in trying to cover-up an organized terrorist attack as a demonstration that got out of hand even though the President had characterized it as terrorist attack.
The dispute goes on.
RAND PAUL DECLARES CANDIDACY FOR REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT
Welcome to the race Mr.Paul hope you collect lots of donations to for your effort.